Tuesday 26 March 2013

Game 30: Manhunter 2 - P Inspections and Wee Collections

Manhunter Journal Entry 4: “Just as I’d hoped it would, my new tracker recording has led me to the work of Phil. Not that it’s ever nice to witness his evil deeds, but finding the two bodies in the doctor’s house with the letter P carved into their foreheads has confirmed that I’m on the path to another confrontation with my enemy. A note I found on the doctor’s body has also given me some insight into what is really going on, but as usual my day has been filled with questions that I struggle to find answers to. I must trust that these answers will come if I continue to keep my eyes open and my mind sharp. The fate of the world depends on it!”

The Temple: Where everything starts to get a bit weird!

My last post finished with a strange occurrence on the staircase in the temple. After rubbing the jewel on the statue with the cloth (that told me to “rub jewel of heaven”), I witnessed a vision of an F, an oar shaped object, a P, and finally a ruler. It didn’t mean anything to me, so after a bit more investigation, I made my way up the stairs for the first time. Once I reached the top I entered a room that had a green dragon head coming out of the wall. I immediately thought of the Dragon gang that Tad Timov had been part of before his death, but that thought was temporarily forgotten as a bunch of ninjas surrounded me. At least they looked like ninjas! One of them forced me away from the dragon head and then kicked me off the screen onto a rather slippery pink bridge.

Damn ninjas came out of nowhere!

Before I even realised that I was taking part in yet another arcade mini-game, I found myself off the bridge and submerged in acid! The Murry’s took glee in telling me how it’s “remarkable how fast acid dissolves flesh!” I then spent the next couple of minutes trying to guide my manhunter across the bridge while he slipped all over the place. Once I made it across I was confronted by a large bearded man overseeing a normally robed man getting the dragon symbol tattooed on his hand. Tattooed isn’t the right word though. This was a branding, pure and simple! The robed man then very proudly displayed his new marking to me before collecting a scroll and walking off. The bearded man then pointed in my direction; clearly suggesting that it was now my turn to put my hand into the fire.

Is this the suspect that entered the temple or just another guy?

I must have paused for just a bit too long while I decided what to do, as one of the ninjas pulled out his sword and sliced me in half! Rather unexpectedly, my upper torso hopped up onto its hands and “walked” back over to my legs, reconnecting the two parts! As if this wasn’t ridiculous enough, my character then realised that he’d reconnected his two halves back the front, and spent some time readjusting. Once all that was done, I was given another opportunity to brand myself, so I went ahead and did it. As soon as my hand touched the burning hot dragon symbol, my character cowered in pain and ran around the room, eventually falling in the acid! I restored and pondered what else I might be able to try. I had nothing in my inventory that could help me get the branding without the pain, and attempting to pick up the scroll without going through the ritual also resulted in a sword through the guts.

Tis nothing but a flesh wound!

In the end I decided to restore back to the staircase and go check out where the other suspect went. Perhaps I would find something down the track to help me get through this ordeal! After leaving the temple, I made my way to the right of screen where I knew there was another location to investigate. There I discovered a red door, which led to a room containing a meditating old man, sitting in front of five jars and a pipe. Interestingly, each of the jars had symbols on them, and I recognised the symbols for Heaven and Vision that I’d seen in Tad’s apartment. I soon discovered that I could take pinches of whatever was in each of the jars and put them into the pipe. I could then use the pipe, which would light it. Clearly I was going to have to choose the correct material to put in the pipe in the right order before lighting it, but how was I supposed to know what that order was?

Did I miss another banner or two that explain what these other jars represent? Perhaps they are yet to come...

The banner I’d seen earlier had to be a clue, so I pulled up a screenshot and studied it. The symbols on the banner did indeed match the ones on two of the jars, but no matter which order I placed them in the pipe, nothing happened when I lit it. Was there another one of these banners elsewhere in the game that would let me know what the other jars represented? Was there a sentence I was supposed to form by selecting the right jars in the right order? I thought about everything I’d seen earlier, but other than “The Castle is the Gateway to Hell”, I could come up with nothing. That clue wasn’t going to help, as I didn’t know if any of the jars represented those words, and any thoughts of trying to guess the correct combination were forgotten as soon as I realised I didn’t even know how many pinches I needed to put in the pipe before lighting it. Once again I was going to have to move on and hope another clue was forthcoming.

I now know nothing...which is no less or more than I knew before.

I opened up my tracker recording and changed to the second suspect while at the pier. Once the first suspect went off to enter the temple, the second one continued on, eventually entering a shop. Another marker appeared on the screen at this point, and after my suspect departed the shop they united on the footpath and carried on together. I exited the tracker at this point to go check out the shop. I pixel hunted outside it for a while but found nothing, so attempted to enter. I then received a message saying “Meanwhile inside...” and was then given a view of the shopkeeper admiring his latest trade, a severed finger! So it appeared that the second suspect had either sold or traded the finger that was removed from the mutant they’d murdered on the boat to the shopkeeper. The plot thickens!

Let's hope this finger doesn't make up part of a larger collection!

I was already having trouble figuring out what was really going on by this stage of the game, but this discovery didn’t help at all. The first two suspects on day one killed members of the dragon gang. The two suspects on day two appeared to have murdered the second of those suspects (while the first one committed suicide) for his finger. Now one of those suspects appeared to have gone and joined the dragon gang while the other sold the finger to a shopkeeper. As much as I tried to make sense of it, I couldn’t! All I could do was continue on! When the shopkeeper saw me entering the shop, he quickly stored the finger below the counter. I moved closer to the counter and saw that this guy sold all sorts of magic tricks, masks, rubber chickens and chain snips. Most interesting, a big yellow sign behind him spoke about a game that I might be able to play. “Don’t have enough to get what you want? Play my game and win big. You can buy something better every time you win. But lose, and you lose it all.”

I pixel hunted this screen about five times. I feel like I was supposed to be able to do something, but couldn't!

Strangely, despite pixel hunting the screen over and over, I could find nothing that I could interact with and I had nothing that I could use with the shopkeeper either. How was I supposed to play this game? For the third time in a row I was simply going to have to take the information I’d gained through my visit and move on. I opened the tracker once again, waiting to see where the suspect and his new accomplice went next. They travelled quite a ways north-east before stopping at the Transamerica Pyramid. The building had three markers moving around, and all of them were in the shape of an S. I had no idea what they could represent, and was still none the wiser when the two suspects rapidly moved towards one and appeared to grab it. They made their way back out of the building with the S in their possession. There was no point trying to figure out what the S’s represented by looking a tracker. I closed the recording and made my way over to Transamerica Pyramid!

Oh look! There's a few S's over there. Quick, grab one!

The building itself was unsurprisingly in the shape of a steep pyramid, and there was something that looked like mud falling from its peak. The building next to it was almost entirely covered in the brown material too, but my pixel hunting revealed nothing apart from the pyramid entrance. Clicking this entrance took me to a close-up view of the building’s front doors, and there was a broken chain sitting near the doorway. This reminded me of the chain snips I’d seen for sale at the shop, so perhaps the suspect traded the severed finger for them so that they could unchain something (or someone) here at the pyramid? I entered the building proper and came across a rather strange sight! The pyramid seemed to have been turned into a mine since the Orb invasion, and a guard robot was currently punishing a slave by constantly zapping him.

I think the S's were on the tracker to help me recognise these guys as Slaves and not Tortoises

The S’s I seen in the tracker recording must have represented slaves! What really drew my attention in this scene though was a large gun locked away in a glass cabinet on the wall. My curiosity got the better of me, and I tried picking it up. This broke the glass, but I was able to get the gun (which turned out to be empty), setting an alarm off in the process. I then watched as my manhunter made his escape back out the front door unopposed! When I re-entered the mine, I was able to go further inside, which kickstarted yet another arcade mini-game. I was shown a top down view, with my manhunter positioned at the bottom of the screen, a slave at the top, and the laser firing robot positioned in the centre of the room. As I tried to dodge the lasers, the slave at the top would move in the opposing direction, but I couldn’t last long without getting zapped.

This is by far the worst of the arcade sections so far, and that's saying something

When I first got killed, the Murry’s appeared on screen and said “this robot is quick, but there is a trick.” It didn’t take me long to figure out what it was too. If I moved as fast as I could in either direction around the robot, it would play catch-up and fire just behind me. Meanwhile the slave was able to move all the way around behind the robot and make an escape at the bottom of the screen. I followed shortly afterwards, and watched as the slave left the building. I was given a close up view of his particularly yellow face, and then both of us ran off in different directions. I’d kind of expected the slave to join up with me, so was surprised to find him disappear without any communication or reward. I can only assume that he will make a cameo at a later stage in the game.

You better come back and help me later little buddy!

I turned to the tracker again and watched the two suspects and their slave leave Transamerica Pyramid and make their way quickly to a building titled “Dr,’s House”. Here they appeared to knock on the door, and when it was answered, they left the slave and departed. I closed the MAD and raced over to the house, which turned out to look awfully like something Norman Bates would thoroughly appreciate. Inside was a scene reminiscent to the hospital scene in Manhunter 1. A blue body was lying on a table motionless in a room filled with medical books and implements. I took a closer look at the body and found it had been badly mutilated. Not only was it missing its right arm from the elbow down, it also had a P carved in its forehead and an S on the left forearm. Could this be the slave? Did they really save him just so they could kill him for some evil purpose?

Why did he take his arm? Or was that why he was brought to the doctor in the first place? So many questions!

Putting my cursor on the P revealed it had been “carved with a dull knife”, but the S gave me no such information. This all reminded me very much of the first game and in particular the body hanging in the closet. I looked back at my screenshots of that game and found that Phil was carving P on his victim’s foreheads. Did Phil kill this man or merely mark him as his own while he was a slave? The answer came quickly, as when I checked out the back room of the doctor’s house, I found the doctor himself slumped across a table, also with a P carved into his forehead. So Phil was back to his old tricks again! At least now I knew that my current path was connected to my old foe. Also on the table was a urine sample, although I wasn’t able to pick it up. Its relevance wasn’t immediately obvious to me, but I thought I would just try using the remedy flask on it and it worked! So now I had some urine! Um...awesome!

Phil was not happy that the doctor requested a second sample

My final discovery in the doctor’s house was a note stuffed in his pocket. It read: “My friend, I have discovered the Orb’s evil purpose. Earth must die for them to live. They must be stopped before it is too late. My life is in danger, they suspect that I have the card. I will deliver it to you as soon as possible. It is up to you and your friends to save mankind. My creations can help but must be freed by an Orb. You must reach Hell, but all entrances are guarded. Only there can they be stopped. The Orb’s have a new helper. They call him Phil and he is dangerous – be careful! God be with you. N. Goring.” Well that goes some way to explaining what’s going on, but the biggest thing I took from the note was the name at the bottom. The author spoke of “his creations” and my newspaper clipping showed a scientist called Noah G. that created the mutants. Could his name be Noah Goring? Stay tuned to find out!”

This note is entitled Letter 2 in my inventory. Where is Letter 1? Did I miss it? Please don't answer this.

Session Time: 1 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 5 hours 00 minutes

Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: I've written a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. Please read it here before making any comments that could be considered a spoiler in any way. The short of it is that no points will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. Please...try not to spoil any part of the game for me...unless I really obviously need the help...or I specifically request assistance. In this instance, I've not made any requests for assistance. Thanks!


  1. Interesting. The Manhunter games seem to have a fascinating and intriguing story, just the way I like it. Too bad the game wrapping the story isn't as good.

    1. The producers were good at setting up the suspense, but I feel that some plot points are insufficiently developed (especially Phil Cook's motivations seem very unclear: is he really working with the orbs or independently of them?).

    2. I guess it's sorta like The 7th Guest in that regard. The story behind it had some good points and all but in the end, you're playing Reversi/word games/chess puzzles no matter the actual story behind it. "Dodge the weapon" can only be so fun on the nth time you do it...

    3. Yeah, just checked it out. Too bad the third and final game didn't get made, as that one would be where they wrapped up all the story points. Just having two thirds of a great story is a horrible thing.

  2. You know what would make great adventure games? David Brin's uplift books. Great plots, characters, locations, etc. You'd need Mass Effect level graphics to pull off all the different aliens though, it just wouldn't be the same without that level of detail.

    Sorry if that came out of the blue, I just read Heaven's Reach today (yes, all 500+ pages in one day) and was thinking about it as I read this blog post.

  3. Looks like a riddle answer from awhile back is now on sale on GoG. Jack Orlando: A Cinematic Adventure (Director's Cut) can be yours for only $2.39 http://www.gog.com/gamecard/jack_orlando_a_cinematic_adventure_dc

    1. And that was some weird formatting... I certainly wasn't trying to be super dramatic with pauses between words. :P

  4. Goring is an inauspicious name. (And not because it's what an angry pig-wolf will do to you.)

    1. What about Albert Goring? http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/world-war-two/9922835/Hermann-Goerings-brother-may-be-recognised-for-saving-Jews-during-Holocaust.html

    2. Yeah, but nobody ever talks about the nice brother. The evil one's more recognizable as a literary reference.